GPUpdate pre-season feelings: Derek Warwick

GPUpdate pre-season feelings: Derek Warwick

22 February 2012 – We’re nearly halfway through this week’s Barcelona test, with the 2012 season edging ever closer. We take the opportunity to catch up with the latest member of the GPUpdate Pre-Season Feelings panel and it’s Derek Warwick: former F1 podium finisher, World Sports Car Champion and Le Mans 24 Hour winner.

Derek, as a former F1 podium finisher whose opinion is now valued as an FIA Steward, how much can you still enjoy the sport as a fan?

I am still a massive anorak when it comes to F1. I am riveted to every race and now do two or three races a year as a steward, so I’ve got closer to the action than I have been for quite a while - because when you fall out as a driver you feel quite distant. I have to say, I thought last year was fantastic; I thought DRS worked really well and I am really anti-KERS, but I think that also worked well. The racing was close. Even though we had a runaway winner, it wasn’t actually like that. I think this year we are more excited about the prospects that we have been for a long time.

What do you make of the UK’s new split television deal between Sky and the BBC?
When it was first announced, because I didn’t understand it I was outraged. I thought it was wrong that the money-grabbers of Formula 1 had taken it away from terrestrial TV. It should, if anything, have been subsidised so that the BBC or ITV could have afforded it. But, with hindsight and having calmed down after the Christmas period (laughs), I have to say that I think we are better off. I think Sky will take the coverage – the explanation, the analysis and everything – to a much higher level than what the BBC did. I am not undermining the BBC, but I just think Sky will do a better job. I know it’s not ideal but, as a true sports fan who watches everything from tiddlywinks to NASCAR, I think I am going to be better off.

For one reason or another, Lewis Hamilton was somewhat off-colour in 2011. Is that poor form now a thing of the past?
I have to choose my words very carefully here! I think you are talking about, arguably, the fastest driver in Formula 1. A driver who got very confused last year - with his management system, his girlfriend situation, his father (and former manager). The negative press is always around, jumping on anything they can to create a headline, and those guys have given him a hard time – but correctly so because I think some of his races were massively disappointing last year, with Monaco being the worst weekend ever for him. Do I think he will come back in 2012? Absolutely. Do I think he will be stronger than he already was before 2011? Absolutely. I think he is the most newsworthy, exciting, quickest, challenging driver out there. He will go for the gaps that we all love to see, that everybody else is too frightened to go for. I think, if McLaren gives him the right car, watch out for Lewis Hamilton this year.

What if you were Michael Schumacher? No podium yet with Mercedes and possibly his last season coming up – what should the realistic targets be?
When I heard he was coming back to Formula 1, I really thought he could win because I thought he picked the right time to come back to Mercedes/Brawn. But of course they didn’t build the car they thought they were going to; but their best chance is going to be this year, which is why it is so exciting. Can he win? Well, I have to say, Nico (Rosberg) has maybe proved that he is not the Schumacher we remember. So, can Michael win in 2012? Yes, if the car is quick enough, I am sure he can grab the odd win, but I do still think he will still be predominantly behind his team-mate.

Prior to testing, the biggest talking point was the remaining Williams seat which eventually went to Bruno Senna. Who would you have chosen?
Sutil. Undoubtedly. In an ideal situation it would have been Sutil and Barrichello, but Maldonado has brought 30 million dollars, or whatever he has brought. Bless Barrichello, he has been a great stalwart of Formula 1 and I wish him all the best. But the future was always going to be somebody like Sutil or Senna, who would have a point to prove because they have been dropped from what are at the moment better teams.

To add to the drama, Räikkönen decides to come back – what can we expect?
I didn’t think I would ever say that I am excited by the fact that Kimi Räikkönen is back to Formula 1 because when he left I thought, ‘Good riddance to you! You give nothing to Formula 1. You don’t care about anything or anybody except Kimi Räikkönen and you had a very lucky World Championship!’…which he did. When he was quick, he was stunning. He lost direction, he lost heart. I think he has been two years in the wilderness and I just think he might come back the Kimi of old - and if he does comes back the Kimi of old, he is going to be bloody quick! But Lotus won’t give him a quick enough car to challenge the top three, which is always going to be Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren. I am excited by him coming back. Is he going to be quick? Yes. Is he going to be quicker than Grosjean? I think, by a quarter of the way through the season, he will be.

We’ve got to put you on the spot now:
Who will be the 2012 Formula 1 World Champions?

To be honest, the way that Vettel is driving and the fact they’ve still got Adrian Newey heading up that team, you would be a fool to say it’s not going to be a repeat of 2011. But in my heart I’ve got McLaren all the way through and, if they have built the car I thought they were going to, I think Lewis and Jenson are going to be really, really tough to beat. And of course…never, never, never underestimate Ferrari and Alonso. They (Vettel, Hamilton, Button and Alonso) are by far the top four Grand Prix drivers of the moment. But if you’re asking me to put my house on a driver and team, I would have to put it on Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull.


Derek Warwick was speaking exclusively with GPUpdate.net at Silverstone


Next time: Stefan Johansson, former F1 driver and 12-time podium finisher

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Monday 30 March 2015

  2. Video of the Day: Get ready for Long Beach 05:17

    Video of the Day: Get ready for Long Beach

    Formula E stays in the United States for round six of its inaugural season – the Long Beach ePrix.

    FE
  3. 01:23

    Championship standings after Malaysia

    F1
  4. Sunday 29 March 2015

  5. Montoya outduels Power to take St. Pete victory 23:16

    Montoya outduels Power to take St. Pete victory

    Juan Pablo Montoya held off teammate and polesitter Will Power to win the season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg…

    Indy
  6. Pedrosa reveals arm injury, considering future 22:30

    Pedrosa reveals arm injury, considering future

    Honda's Dani Pedrosa says he is considering his options after revealing that he has been suffering with an arm problem for over…

    MotoGP
  7. Rossi beats Dovizioso in Qatar thriller 19:51

    Rossi beats Dovizioso in Qatar thriller

    Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi claimed victory in the opening round of the MotoGP season in Qatar as he beat Ducati's Andrea…

    MotoGP
  8. Video: Will Power's record St. Pete lap 17:06

    Video: Will Power's record St. Pete lap

    Enjoy Will Power's record pole-winning lap for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

    Indy
  9. 16:02

    Latest F1 photos: Sunday at Sepang

    F1
  10. Räikkönen achieves 'maximum' after puncture 15:20

    Räikkönen achieves 'maximum' after puncture

    Kimi Räikkönen says fourth position was the best result possible after he sustained a puncture during the early stages of the…

    F1
  11. McLaren drivers say pace 'a nice surprise' 13:41

    McLaren drivers say pace 'a nice surprise'

    Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button say that McLaren-Honda's raw pace during the Malaysian Grand Prix came as "a nice…

    F1
  12. Verstappen delighted with maiden points 12:59

    Verstappen delighted with maiden points

    Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen expressed his satisfaction after becoming the youngest ever points scorer in Formula 1…

    F1
  13. Ferrari Chairman hails 'incredibly hard work' 12:44

    Ferrari Chairman hails 'incredibly hard work'

    Sergio Marchionne praised the "incredibly hard work" of his Ferrari team after Sebastian Vettel took victory in the Malaysian…

    F1
  14. Kvyat: Hülkenberg clash a racing incident 12:12

    Kvyat: Hülkenberg clash a racing incident

    Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat played down his contact with Force India rival Nico Hülkenberg during the Malaysian Grand Prix, which…

    F1
  15. Brake issues hampers Maldonado at Sepang 12:09

    Brake issues hampers Maldonado at Sepang

    Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado was forced to retire from the Malaysian Grand Prix with a brake issue, as his and the squad's…

    F1
  16. Rosberg wants improved communication 12:05

    Rosberg wants improved communication

    Nico Rosberg has urged Mercedes to improve communication after he came home a distant third in the Malaysian Grand…

    F1
  17. Merhi elated by maiden Formula 1 finish 11:54

    Merhi elated by maiden Formula 1 finish

    Formula 1 debutant Roberto Merhi expressed his joy after he was able to finish his first ever race in the sport as he came home…

    F1
  18. Hamilton: Ferrari too fast for us today 11:42

    Hamilton: Ferrari too fast for us today

    Lewis Hamilton has admitted that Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari were simply "too fast" to deal with during the Malaysian Grand…

    F1
  19. Sepang extends Formula 1 deal to 2018 11:22

    Sepang extends Formula 1 deal to 2018

    Sepang will continue to play host to the Malaysian Grand Prix after organisers agreed a new deal to remain on the Formula 1…

    F1
  20. Vettel 'speechless' after first Ferrari win 11:16

    Vettel 'speechless' after first Ferrari win

    Sebastian Vettel said claiming his first victory for Ferrari during Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix initially left him lost for…

    F1
  21. 09:59

    In full: Malaysian Grand Prix race result

    F1
  22. Vettel breaks Mercedes run with Sepang win 09:54

    Vettel breaks Mercedes run with Sepang win

    Sebastian Vettel claimed his first victory for Ferrari as the team pulled off a two-stop strategy to beat Mercedes, which had…

    F1
  23. 07:46

    Follow the Malaysian Grand Prix live!

    F1
  24. Dennis hopeful of European turning point 07:32

    Dennis hopeful of European turning point

    Ron Dennis is optimistic that McLaren-Honda will find itself in a much stronger position when the Formula 1 paddock arrives in…

    F1
  25. Stevens unable to race amid technical trouble 07:18

    Stevens unable to race amid technical trouble

    Will Stevens is unable to start this afternoon's Malaysian Grand Prix, with Manor Marussia failing to resolve the technical…

    F1
  26. 06:32

    Revised starting grid for the Malaysian GP

    F1
  27. Video of the Day: Backstage with Sauber 04:22

    Video of the Day: Backstage with Sauber

    Go behind-the-scenes during Sauber's pre-season filming day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

    F1
  28. Saturday 28 March 2015

  29. Power starts title defence with pole, track record 21:47

    Power starts title defence with pole, track record

    Will Power stormed to pole for the season-opening round of the Verizon IndyCar Series on Saturday, setting a new track record in…

    Indy
  30. Dovizioso takes pole for Ducati in Qatar 18:21

    Dovizioso takes pole for Ducati in Qatar

    Andrea Dovizioso emphasised Ducati's progress over the winter as he claimed the third pole position of his MotoGP career at the…

    MotoGP
  31. 18:17

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday at Sepang

    F1
  32. Massa frustrated by Williams' wet pace 18:14

    Massa frustrated by Williams' wet pace

    Felipe Massa expressed his frustration that Williams is still "too slow" in wet conditions, after a rain-hit qualifying session…

    F1
  33. Montagny suspended by FIA until end of 2016 16:36

    Montagny suspended by FIA until end of 2016

    Franck Montagny has been suspended by the FIA's Anti-Doping Committee until December 2016, after he tested positive for…

    Misc
  34. Ricciardo: Fourth a 'good result' for Red Bull 14:00

    Ricciardo: Fourth a 'good result' for Red Bull

    Daniel Ricciardo was pleased with Red Bull's performance during qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix after a difficult…

    F1
  35. Formula E unveils shortened Monaco layout 13:20

    Formula E unveils shortened Monaco layout

    Organisers of the Monaco ePrix have unveiled the layout for the race which will take place on May 9. The 12-turn 2.76km…

    FE
  36. Rosberg 'annoyed' by qualifying display 12:46

    Rosberg 'annoyed' by qualifying display

    Nico Rosberg has conceded that he "didn't drive well enough" during Saturday's rain-hit qualifying session for the Malaysian…

    F1
  37. Verstappen happy with first Q3 appearance 12:43

    Verstappen happy with first Q3 appearance

    Max Verstappen declared himself happy after he equalled father Jos' best Formula 1 qualifying performance by setting the sixth…

    F1
  38. Vettel reckons Sepang victory is possible 12:29

    Vettel reckons Sepang victory is possible

    Sebastian Vettel believes that he can fight for victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix, after securing a place on the front row of…

    F1
  39. Grosjean dropped two places for pit infringement 11:59

    Grosjean dropped two places for pit infringement

    Lotus driver Romain Grosjean has been handed a two-place grid penalty for a pit lane infringement during Saturday's qualifying…

    F1
  40. Both Manor Marussia drivers allowed to race 11:46

    Both Manor Marussia drivers allowed to race

    Manor Marussia's Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens have been granted permission to race in the Malaysian Grand Prix, despite…

    F1
  41. Hamilton relieved to make first lap count 11:41

    Hamilton relieved to make first lap count

    Lewis Hamilton spoke of his relief after his first timed lap in the top 10 shootout in Malaysia proved marginally fast enough…

    F1
  42. 10:38

    Malaysian Grand Prix: Qualifying results

    F1
  43. Hamilton grabs pole in rain-hit qualifying 10:37

    Hamilton grabs pole in rain-hit qualifying

    Lewis Hamilton took his second successive pole position during a rain-hit qualifying session for the Malaysian Grand Prix…

    F1
more news